Is your website starting to look a bit dated? Are you planning on a revamp or a total redesign?
It can be tricky to know where to begin when you’re looking for design inspiration. Chances are, your favorite websites have a dizzying array of designs, from magazine-style blogs to busy news sites. If you’re taking steps to drive more traffic to your website, you want a high-quality, inviting website that jives with your brand and keeps your visitors coming back for more.
Let’s take a look at three key trends – and some pros and cons of each.
Idea #1: Go minimalist
As well as being a popular self-help idea, minimalism has taken hold on the web. With simple, clear layouts and plenty of white space, minimalist sites help your content shine.
Example: Goins, Writer (a blog about writing)
While Jeff’s front page is a bit busier, his blog has a simple, pared-down design. There’s a mobile-style menu rather than a traditional navigation bar (reflecting the increasing trend for mobile-first design, as more and more users come to websites on mobile devices).
- Minimalism is a good option if you’re not a designer. Rather than trying to create something complex with lots of intricate flourishes, you can keep it simple and straightforward, putting the focus on your content itself.
- It can be a great fit for many different brands, letting you convey a sense of simplicity, openness, and calm through your design.
- Minimalism doesn’t tend to be as eye-catching as some other design styles: you may feel that it’s not a good fit for your brand or for what you’re trying to do with your site.
- While it might seem straightforward to cut down on things like navigational elements, unnecessary text, and flashy widgets, it can be surprisingly hard to pare things back to a minimum.
Idea #2: Use bright colors
If you want a modern, eye-catching website, then how about joining the trend for bold, bright colors?
Example: Likely Story (a design agency)
As you might expect from a design agency, Likely Story’s website is eye-catching. The pink stands out against the darkish blue (and note the use of it on the chair and the little horse down in the lower right corner).
This front page also has a minimalist look: the company’s logo, a small amount of text, a single image, and an expanding menu.
- Bright colors are memorable: if someone visits your site but forgets the name of it, they might well remember the color – which will help them find it again through a web search.
- Colorful sites can convey a cheerful, youthful, quirky, or innovative brand. This could help you stand out in a crowded industry.
- Some color combinations can be hard to read, particularly for older audiences. (Likely Story’s pink on blue might be a bit of a strain on the eyes, for instance.)
- Bold colors won’t be appropriate for some sites or industries. If you run a luxury hotel, for instance, they may be a bit brash and youthful looking for your site. (And if you run a funeral parlor, you’re almost certainly going to want to stick with more somber colors.)
Idea #3: Integrate short video clips
Using video clips or animations that automatically play can grab a casual browser’s eye and draw attention to your products or a key message.
Example: Office (a shoe retailer)
This bright animation takes up almost the whole of Office’s front page. It’s impossible to miss (just compare it with the tiny “UP TO 50% OFF SALE” link directly above it).
It uses bright pink colors, and a moving gradient background that draws the eye even more. Whether you like it or not, it’s hard to deny that it gets your attention.
- Moving text or images can be a lot more attention-grabbing than simple words, giving you a good opportunity to “hook” visitors immediately.
- With some products or services, a short animation can quickly help visitors “get” what you do. Static images or long written explanations might not convey this nearly so well.
- Some users may dislike videos or animations that automatically play. This is far more likely to be the case if you include sound so make sure yours are visual only. Also, be aware of your audience and what their likely preferences will be: something that delights teenagers might not go down so well with business professionals in their 50s.
- Creating a high-quality video or animation may well require specialist help. This could mean budgeting extra for your website design. Poor quality animations or videos aren’t likely to create a good first impression at all.
Whatever type of web design you opt for, make sure that you’re creating something that is easy and engaging for people to use. There’s no point having a beautiful design if that design makes it impossible for people to navigate your website.
Now that you’ve made the effort to create an eye-catching website design that grabs attention and makes a great first impression, you want to attract as many visitors as possible. Install our social media share buttons to make it easy for your visitors to share your content with their social media connections – they’re free to use, easy to install, and will effortlessly drive more visitors to your fabulous new website!